“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food“
What is it about Italian cooking that makes it pure comfort food? Wholesome, generous servings laden with carbs… it almost defies logic not to be left emotionally satisfied after a good meal, not to mention their desserts. Tiramisu is literally Italian for ‘pick me up’!
But I’m digressing before I’ve even started this post. Which is about I Robert, in case you were wondering, the new eatery in Mayfair from the prolific Russian restaurateur Arkadiy Novikov.
Occupying a bright and airy space spread out over two floors, the restaurant wants to bring back the neighbourhood “local”. And while it may not be your average local, it does pull off a charming homely touch with friendly, faultless service and hearty Italian fare.
Downstairs has an edgy, almost quirky undertone. Kitsch artwork stands out against the whitewashed walls…
… and there’s a cosy, more private, enclave at the back perfect for larger groups.
While the elegant dining area upstairs reflects a quiet grandeur with soft hues and a majestic chandelier hanging prettily from the sky blue ceiling.
I know, I know.
But I did caution that this is not your typical local.
We started off with a selection of salads in simple dressings that brought out the crisp flavours of the fresh veggies and leaves… pleasantly bitter artichokes, rocket and parmesan lightly doused in olive oil, and the Chef’s special throwing together baby spinach, rocket, carrots, peas, mushrooms and beans on a bed of baby gem, in a sharp mustard dressing.
… The burrata was a must of course, incredibly creamy and served with tomatoes and basil.
We went with pasta for mains, a homemade specialty at I Robert rolled by hand every day, with gluten-free options available. Ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and pear sounded appealing, but we decided to go halfsies on the tagliolini swimming indulgently in pesto -so fresh you could taste the basil and pine-nuts – with peas and courgette.
We rounded off our lovely dinner on an indulgently sweet note with rich dense scoops of vanilla, caramel and dulce de leche ice cream made from buffalo milk…
Tiramisu was not on the menu, quite surprisingly. However, a blackcurrant crostata and lemon meringue pie beckoned invitingly from the counter, making up for it’s absence somewhat. We were far too full to do have been able to do either justice… But have a feeling that we’ll likely be popping back soon, next time time we’re in need of mood food or a sweet boost.
I Robert, 54 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8PG